Xbox 360 Review: Fallout: New Vegas

Welcome to Sin City…

How do you follow up the biggest game of 2008? Apparently, Fallout New Vegas is the answer. It’s not quite Fallout 4, but will it entice you to visit the Wasteland once again? Beaten, shot, and left to die in a shallow grave. Someone wants you dead. But you’re going to have your work cut out if you want to exact revenge. The Mojave Wasteland is a lawless place, where desperados and the just desperate alike brave the harsh deserts, slavers, radioactive beasties and super mutants. Welcome to New Vegas.

Fallout New Vegas is more than a worthy successor to Fallout 3, but it does feel more like Fallout 3.5 than a true sequel. Not that that’s a bad thing, in fact its one of its strongest points. You play as a courier who gets caught up in the battle for control over New Vegas, which is waged between many different factions including Caesar’s Legion, the NCR and the Brotherhood of Steel to name a few. The New Vegas strip is controlled by the mysterious Mr House who wants you to give him ultimate power, but you can choose to side with what faction you want.

But when you do choose, be prepared to face the wrath of the other factions. I chose to work for Mr House and got ambushed a number of times by Caesar’s Legion, plus having to wipe out one faction made me unpopular to say the least. You will gain fame or infamy towards a faction depending on your actions and will result the way they interact with you as you come across them. Your choices have real implications that will even void you of completing certain quests you didn’t even know existed, so be careful.

New Vegas comes with a Hardcore mode which turns you into a tamagotchi. You’ll need to eat, drink and sleep to stay alive, plus stimpaks only restore health over time and any broken limbs will need to be fixed by either a Doctor or a Doctor’s Bag, simply using a stimpaks won’t work anymore. You can still play the game on the easiest setting with Hardcore Mode enabled, but just be prepared for a tough ride as you constantly hunt for food, safe water and a nice place to sleep.

The Mojave Wasteland is large and seems to go on forever, but as with the past game you can travel to previous found areas using the Pip-Boy. During my time with the game, I only feel like I’ve scraped the surface of what it has to offer. There are quests that I didn’t get around to doing as there are so many and some require multiple playthroughs to access. Combat remains the same, although manual aiming is improved and you don’t get to rely as much on VATS. You still level up, but you get perks every other level. There is a definite increase in difficulty in New Vegas, even on Very Easy. Your weapons and armour break over time as before and you can repair them, but you can also attach new upgrades to them as well as better ammo suited for certain enemies.

There’s also the gambling side of the game which is actually pretty mixed, Caravan is a pretty confusing card game, while Roulette, Blackjack and Slots make an appearance but only serve as a way of grinding for extra cash, should you need it. I personally got enough from missions and stealing to get by, so you may not need to. But you’ll need 2000 caps to pass a Credit Check to enter the Strip, so be forewarned!

Quests seem to be the same as they were in Fallout 3. Go to a location, talk to someone, go to another location, pick something up and take it back to the first person. There are a lot of back-and-forth quests that drag the game out more than it needs to. You can make choices to get through areas without fighting depending on what skills you have mastered such as Speech and Science. Lock picking and hacking terminals also return for entering areas and unlocking safes. The game feels more of the same, even the Wasteland look strangely familiar at times. There are new enemies that will test you and some old ones that are a bit tougher than they originally were.

Now for the bad news. During my time playing with New Vegas, I came across dozens of bugs and glitches that almost made the game unplayable at times. I’m pleased to say that a patch came out on Friday that got rid of most of them, but my game still crashes from time to time. Loading is excruciatingly long, even just for opening a door to the next area.

The engine is looking a bit dated by today’s standards and it’s starting to show, it does a good job but the framerate dips all over the place during big skirmishes and I wonder how long it is till it just freezes. Hopefully future patches will roll out to improve performance and reduce the problems that hold back what is a very good game. Voice-acting is solid and the music is classic Fallout.

The Verdict

You get a lot of content for your money, but Fallout: New Vegas feels more like a stop gap between Fallout 3 and 4. It maintains the gameplay that made Fallout 3 win numerous GOTY awards but it hasn’t really evolved since then. Despite this, I did enjoy every second with it…regardless of performance issues and laughably bad glitches. Should you enter the City of Sin? Of course you should, just be wary of what it has in store for you…